Nick Anderson
06/19/01
Ten Commandments. Separation of Church and State. U.S. Constitution

Trump openly flouts so-called ‘beloved’ Ten Commandments

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“I love the Ten Commandments,” fatuously proclaimed Donald Trump last week, after Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed the law mandating that all public school classes must exhibit the Ten Commandments.

“I LOVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PRIVATE SCHOOLS, AND MANY OTHER PLACES, FOR THAT MATTER,” Trump posted on his online platform. “READ IT — HOW CAN WE, AS A NATION, GO WRONG??? THIS MAY BE, IN FACT, THE FIRST MAJOR STEP IN THE REVIVAL OF RELIGION, WHICH IS DESPERATELY NEEDED, IN OUR COUNTRY.”

Trump is already latching onto the controversy to score more pandering points, waxing rhapsodic at the Faith and Freedom conference over the weekend about the “incredible stuff” of the Ten Commandments, especially “Thou shalt not steal,” as if he’d never heard the concept before, which is quite possible. He told attendees they “cannot afford to sit on the sidelines” of the 2024 election, imploring them at one point to “go and vote, Christians, please!”

But even the most ardent MAGA sycophant has to be aware that Trump’s “I love the Ten Commandments” vow is an empty and cynical pander to his base. Trump loves, honors and understands the Ten Commandments about as much as he loves, honors and understands our secular Constitution. For the sake of argument, what would happen were his evangelical base to hold Trump accountable to those commandments? How many has he violated?

Let’s take No. 8, “Thou shalt not steal” —  the commandment Trump professed such awe over even though every kindergartner instinctively understands the principle, needing no supernatural advice. Trump has incessantly violated it, given his long history of cheating clients and not paying contractors. 

Likewise No. 9, the commandment against false witness. His followers surely can’t have forgotten he’s awaiting sentencing for such a crime, after being found guilty of 34 counts of felony falsifying of business records. In other words, he lied big time. In fact, he’s made a lifetime hobby of lying. The Washington Post has documented more than 30,000 false or misleading claims made by Trump during his presidential term alone.

Then there’s Commandment No. 7. Trump has admitted to — if not actually bragged about — committing adultery. In 1990, during his separation from his first wife, when busily  committing adultery with wife-to-be Marla Maples, he was quoted saying adultery was not a sin. And how can we forget Stormy Daniels’ recent testimony in the felony fraud trial about their, ahem, liaison, which occurred shortly after his third wife Melania had given birth. 

As a corollary, Trump’s been implicated in rape, being twice found guilty in civil court of defaming Jean Carroll after accusing her of lying about being raped by him. Let’s not forget he basically admitted to sexual assault when he boasted of how he would “grab them by the pussy” with impunity. But, of course, rape didn’t even merit the patriarchal Top Ten, whose Tenth Commandment defines women, at least wives, as male property. 

Trump also made clear his contempt for the Sixth Commandment, “Thou shall not kill,” when he claimed while campaigning in 2016, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

I would maintain that Donald Trump daily violates the First Commandment, too — “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” — by deifying himself and encouraging the cultish response by his adoring supplicants. Hence, the sickening political signs on Jan. 6 and at his political rallies touting such slogans as “Jesus is my savior and Trump is my president” and “God, Guns, Trump.” Supporters, with his encouragement, have even compared his fraud trial to the crucifixion of Jesus.

There is one commandment, however, his religious followers could definitely credit Trump for following: injunction No. 5: “Honor thy parents.” At least he certainly has honored his father’s racist and unethical rental and business practices.

Of most concern to us secularists — who don’t need an inadequate set of instructions supposedly issued from on high in order to know it’s wrong to kill and who could compose a better Top Ten list ourselves, thank you — is Trump’s interjection of himself into the legal fight ensuing since Landry signed the unconstitutional law.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, FFRF Action Fund’s parent organization, with other secular allies, is courageously suing Louisiana over this blatantly unconstitutional law. If it’s a legal showdown Trump is looking for, he’ll get it, because those of us who love our First Amendment will be fighting hard to make sure that amendment — not commandment — is honored. 

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